LENT WEEK 2: "FAST FROM DESPAIR"
By Kahu Brian Kaunaloa Boshard
(Reflect on this devotional from Sun., Mar 12 through Sat., March 18)
It was 5:30A.M. and I was still in bed. Hū ka huʻihuʻi! The chill of the morning kept me firmly planted in the fetal position with the comforter and blankets wrapped tightly around me.
Unfortunately, my alarm went off for the second time and my mind began racing ahead with the “busy-ness” – ka paʻahana - of the day before me. The list of "to-dos" raced through my head as a rapid fire visual montage of deadlines, reports, phone calls and meetings that needed my attention. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr???
Then a whisper came to me, I turned and noticed that my wife was still asleep. Then I heard it again and I instantly knew the voice. “Spend time with me, focus on our relationship and don’t let the world’s demands take time away from us,” whispered the Spirit of the Living Lord.
Whew! I was safe again, and the multiple distractions that tempted me to dive into the perceived pool of uncertainty of the work week were erased. What happened? I fasted from the allurements of being paʻahana for success and removed myself to meet with Iesū first. Our strongholds need to be subordinate to Iesū as a way of ridding ourselves of anxiety while being filled with ka ʻoliʻoli - heavenly joy.
What is a stronghold? It is anything that sets itself up against God’s promises for us. It happens with the influence of doubt, fear and hopelessness has you in a headlock that you begin to suffocate and your clarity of mind diminishes. When you allow your peace to be taken from you that is the power of a stronghold. Our spiritual enemy is a persuasive agent of mind control and can cause anyone who is not firmly planted in Iesū Kristo to be shaken by their roots rendering their confidence bare. In Hawaiian, we might refer to these kinds of obstacles that absorb our fullest attention on the Lord as ālaina.
Here is a list of some personal strongholds – nā ālaina – that we often battle against:
If you have experienced the negative impact of strongholds diverting you from knowing God’s purposes for your life then take comfort because God is with you and by taking time to be with our Lord and His word, then our Captain of the armies of heaven will lead you to victory.
II Korineto 10:3-5
No ka mea, ke noho nei mākou me ke kino,
ʻaʻole naʻe mākou e kaua aku ma muli o ke kino.
ʻAʻole no ke ao nei nā mea kaua o ko mākou kaua ʻana;
akā, he ikaika naʻe i ke Akua e hoʻohiolo iho ai i nā pā kaua;
E hoʻohiolo ana hoʻi i na manaʻo, a me nā mea kiʻekiʻe a pau e hoʻokiʻekiʻe ana aʻe, e kūʻē
i ka naʻauao o ke Akua, a e kaʻi pio ana i nā manaʻo a pau i ka hoʻolohe aku iā Kristo.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For although we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretense that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
God’s word is clear on these spiritual matters of the mind that can cause us to lean on distorted truths that may interfere with our calm and corrupt our happiness just enough for us to doubt God’s indwelling presence and power. WE FIGHT WITH DIVINE WEAPONS!
So what are our divine weapons? The Apostle Paul uses military lingo to describe the battle that goes on in our minds. When we look to Ephesians 6:13-18, we discover that fervent prayer, abundant faith, eternal hope, amazing love, God’s word of truth and the indwelling Holy Spirit are our arsenal of weapons that protect, preserve and sustain us from unworldly darkness.
During this time of fasting and in preparation for Easter, let us desist from any confusion meant to take our minds captive, and instead feast our way to victory over falsehoods and deceptions with prayer and praise to our Savior. Be mindful to wake up each morning in the presence of God’s redeeming light. Then simply ask Ke Akua Mana Loa for discernment to be aware of the personal roadblocks which are preventing you from experiencing His joy and for the wisdom of God’s word to be cultivated within you in order to gain a strong understanding of what is pono and what is ʻaʻole pono.
E pule kākou. E Iesū Kristo ka Wai Ola, ke pule haʻahaʻa nei mākou iā ʻoe, a ke hoʻomaikaʻi nei mākou iā ʻoe. E hō mai iā mākou i Kou maluhia i kēia lā. Dear Jesus Christ the Living Water. We humbly pray and lift our praises to you. We ask for Your peace to be with us today. Thank you Lord for your words of life and strength that gives us peace and wisdom to live a life that is blessed by You. Please protect our hearts and our minds as we seek to serve You and Your people. Ma ka inoa ʻo Iesū. ʻAmene
Describe an encounter that you struggled with and stressed you out. How did you deal with it? Do you know if this struggle is common to you and if so, do you believe that it may be a personal stronghold? Reread 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and remember that we are to take every loose thought and impulsive emotion and redirect it so that it comes under God’s rule and purposes for our life.
LENT WEEK 3: "I LONG TO WORSHIP YOU"
By Dr. Kathleen Werner, KSH Kula Haʻahaʻa Poʻo Kumu
(Reflect on this devotional from Sun., Mar 19 through Sat., March 25)
Growing up I did not participate in Lent. I have certainly come to understand the relevance and importance of Lent. I view it as a time to stop, focus and reflect on my relationship with God and on what He has done.
Ua hoʻomanaʻo nō wau i nā lā o ka wā kahiko;
ua noʻonoʻo nō wau ma kāu mau hana a pau;
ma ka hana o kou lima ua noʻonoʻo nui wau.
I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.
It is a time to draw closer to Him and ask myself; do I love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind? There was a time in my life when my heart was literally broken. My soul was completely feeling empty. Early one morning in my state of deep hurt, I went for a run. As I was running around the lake in my neighborhood, one of my favorite songs came flooding through my mind and out of my lips:
As the deer pants for the water
So my soul longs after thee
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship you
You alone are my strength, my shield
To you alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship you
You're my friend and you are my brother
Even though you are a king
I love you more than any other
So much more than anything
I love you more than gold or silver,
only you can satisfy.
You alone are the real joy giver
and the apple of my eye.
As I was singing these words out loud while sobbing, I looked to my right and there were three deer eating grass alongside of the road. I came to a complete stop and fell on my knees. I continued to sob but the tears turned to such joy. I knew God was saying to me, “Look and remember, I am all you need, I am with you, I will not forsake you, I died for you.” The fact that there were three deer, not just one overwhelmed me also, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“E like me ka dia e makemake ana i ka waikahe,
Pēlā e makemake nei koʻu ʻuhane iā ʻoe, e ke Akua.”
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”
I think this is Lent. I believe the deeper meaning of Lent for me is much more than just giving up my favorite food or thing for a period of time. It is a time to stop and realize just what God’s amazing grace means. He died for me. I want this time of reflection to be a time that I grow more deeply connected to Him, as I reflect on the victory of the empty tomb and what that means for all of us. Lent is a time to truly stop and be reminded that He alone is my strength and shield, He alone is my heart’s desire. Lent reminds me how thirsty I am for Him. Lent reminds me that nothing else can quench my thirst and satisfy my soul. To Him alone may my spirit yield.
E kō makōu Makua o ka lani, mahalo ia ʻoe...
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you that You are all I need. Thank you that You are always with me. Thank you that You that You gave Your life for me. I pray this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen
March 01, 2017
KS Maui Kahu Kalani Wong reflects on Jesus’ selfless gift to us in his Ash Wednesday message, and Christian Education Instructor Kanani Franco shares her mana‘o on fasting during Lent.